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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wallach

How to Wear Avant Garde Clothing

Updated: May 8, 2019

Why Go Avant Garde?

Avant Garde Fashion
Avant garde fashion isn't as weird as it may seem

Here you are, reading an article on “How to wear avant garde clothing”, so you’re probably already past the whole “but what’s the point?” stage. In case you’re not, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Trying out something new that’s outside of your comfort zone is… well, uncomfortable. That being said, taking a few calculated style-risks can be extremely rewarding. Avant garde styles give an updated, modern look to even the most classic wardrobes; and they don’t have to be as overwhelming as they might seem at first. Seriously, even the most conventional wardrobe can be updated with a couple of unconventional garments.


Step 1: Search for Inspiration:

Check out Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or wherever you like spending your time on social media for fashion bloggers and influencers that excite you.

Make note of particular outfits or shots that you like and try to “find the thread” that connects them. Are they all wearing the same kind of sunglasses? Do they look like they belong in a particular film genre? Figuring out what excites you about their style will help you discover how to evolve your own

Have any personal style icons? Maybe a movie star, maybe a performer - living or dead, it doesn’t matter who. Take a look at each individually as well as on the whole. What is it about each person’s style that you admire? Try to focus on their style rather than their body type! Don’t get caught in the “I’ll never look like them” trap!

Remember that even though you may admire someone’s style, you don’t need to be a copy of them. If you love Elton John and David Bowie, you don’t need to wear costumes to channel their style.

Step 2: Styling Tips:

Start with some kind of accessory item like a belt, scarf, bag or pair of shoes. These kinds of items are easy to incorporate into a variety of outfits, so you’ll learn how you like to style them. Plus, it gives you more opportunity to wear them, so you get maximum return on investment. That’s always important when you’re trying something new.

For the next step, try to choose a versatile item like a jacket, vest, cape or pair of pants. While these kinds of items can be a lot bolder, they are also versatile so you have the opportunity to learn and play with different ways of styling.

Another easy way to add an avant garde elements to your wardrobe is to find conventional garments made from unconventional materials: denim as a blazer (but not a jean jacket!), jersey as a dress shirt, leather pants, etc.

Extra and unexpected draping can also add an extra level of elegance, especially when paired with conventional items. A nicely draped vest or waistcoat can elevate the plain old jeans & t shirt outfit to something worthy of the pages of Vogue.

Step 3: DIY:

If you aren’t in the market for buying something new, there are still a lot of options available. For example, take a quality item you have in your wardrobe, but don’t wear very much and give it a DIY makeover. Remove one sleeve from a jacket or cut both sleeves short. Tear some artistic holes in a t shirt and wear it layered over another boldly colored shirt. Cut the collar and cuffs off an old dress shirt and stitch (or hot glue if you are terrified of sewing) them to a sweater, long sleeved t shirt or whatever you can think of.

Find yourself some really cool haberdashery items to add to a t shirt. If you head over to a sewing/crafting store, you can find some amazing bits & pieces to use like studs, spikes, safety pins, patches, zippers… you’re only limited by your imagination!

If you’re feeling creative, the possibilities are endless. You don’t even need to be particularly skilled to make it work. A lot of time, leaving rough edges can give your DIY projects an even cooler effect.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our “Bleached T Shirt DIY” tutorial! It’s easy and low-commitment and you probably already have everything you need for it at home!

Some Final Thoughts:

Avant Garde style isn’t for everyone. Some people really do feel more comfortable blending in with a crowd - at least visually. If you don’t feel good trying something new, then don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s also important to remember that there’s no time or age-limit when it comes to experimenting with your style. Ari Cohen’s “Advanced Style” blog proves that!

Just because you want to try out something avant garde doesn’t mean you have to commit to a new lifestyle. It’s totally normal to want to wear jeans and a comfy tee one day and look like a rockstar the next. Remember that you’re experimenting with expanding your sense of style here. No one else can tell you what makes you feel great. Positive feedback can be very uplifting, but that shouldn’t be your only or even the main purpose of trying out something new.

If you’re looking for ways to subvert conventional consumerism and going avant garde isn’t for you, keep your eye on our blog here! We’ll be updating regularly with all kinds of cool ideas. Want to make a change but don’t have the budget to commit to totally flipping your wardrobe to sustainable, socially conscious solutions in one season? Check out our latest writeup on what makes organic cotton a better choice to get yourself started!


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